Lines from the Pines

by Free Speech on February 4, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

By Pegged Right

Where’s Peg? If you haven’t heard it through the grapevine I have taken a job reporting (after ten months of being unemployed) in Park Falls . Yes, that is up north. Almost as far up north as you can get before you could spit right into Lake Superior . Just across the big lake from Sergeant Preston. Snowmobiles buzz the streets. Think Northern Exposure. Plowing is for the weak of heart. In winter the roads are snow covered and slippery. End of story.

Park Falls (population 3,000 or with me – 3001) boasts the only two stop lights in Price County . Mighty proud of those stop lights too. To say this is the northwoods would be an understatement. It is all woods. Go north or south on Hwy. 13 and you’ll find yourself in the midst of endless acres of the Chequamegon National Forest . It is a good thing I am a so called “tree hugger” because I could never run out of trees to hug up here.

I am temporarily living in a rented house and waiting for my cottage along the Wisconsin River to sell. I hope the economy is going to take a turn soon. I love peanut butter, but not every day.

Just like Lodi , Park Falls has its own personality. The economic heart beat of the city is the Flambeau Paper mill. I am glad to report it doesn’t stink as some do and it is also a very green business. They discovered a way to take their waste products and make some kind of pellets and then received a grant to build a processor which now supplies all of the heat and electrical energy to run the mill – making it far more productive than it was for the previous owners who closed up and left town. It was former employees that put their head together and got it open and operating in the black again.

The newspaper, Park Falls Herald, is downtown in its own building, nothing fancy, but probably better than a tanning parlor in a mini mall.

Peg Zaemisch, relaxes out side the Enterprise office on her last day as editor. Peg is slowly adjusting to life in the Great Northwoods.

Peg Zaemisch, relaxes outside the Enterprise office on her last day as editor. Peg is slowly adjusting to life in the Great Northwoods.

During my first week here I was able to find a house to rent where I could still have my dog Keillor with me. I decided I might be on my own up here, but to be without my wonder dog (wonder why I have her) would be too much for even an optimist like myself. I picked up the keys on Friday to sunny promises that the house would all be ready for me come Sunday.
When I returned late Sunday night, packed down with stuff to get along for a while I found that there was four feet of standing snow in the driveway and it would be up to me and my trusty shovel. It was late, I had driven the four hour trip in five and a ha lf because I was driving directly into the teeth of a blizzard. I pushed my way through the snow and began to fiddle with the key in the dark. Keillor (who couldn’t even walk in the snow because it was literally up past her ears), decided take a dump on the front porch. So the first thing I did was get some toilet paper and pick it up and dump it in the toilet. Oops. I thought it felt cold in the house- the little package hit the ice in the toilet with a thud. The furnace was out and the water in the toilet and elsewhere – frozen. We pushed our way back out through the blizzard and found a hotel for the night.
The next day being Monday, I had to go to work. But, what to do with the dog? I hung out at the hotel until boot-out time while I waited for the furnace guys to get the house warming up. Couldn’t take her to work, so mostly just drove around with her wondering what I had gotten into this time.
I would have to say at this time – more than a month later – I am still wondering. I have some very good days and some others where I wonder if I did something very, very bad in my childhood and now the chickens have come home to roost. Maybe I am getting what I justly deserve for some long ago and forgotten sin.
Look up ambivalence and you’ll see my picture. I swing wildly and my moods go up and down with the temperatures which have been mostly down – like 25 to 30 degrees below. That’s not wind chill that is the temperature. One night I dutifully put my vehicle in the garage, only to find out in the morning that it was being held hostage by the electric garage door opener which was apparently frozen and would not rise to the occasion. That wasn’t a good day. But, last Saturday I took the dog for a long walk and it was 35 degrees and I relished the quiet and the profiles of the pointy pines and the birch and I felt blessed to live where the air is clean and the population is sparse. That was a good day. Tomorrow? Who knows? What I do know is that I am trying to make it all work. Paying rent on top of a mortgage is not something I’d recommend – If I tightened my belt anymore the last hole would be all the way around and back by the buckle. But, hopefully someone will come along and love the cottage as much I did and need a relaxing, woodsy place to live. Keep your eyes crossed for me will you?
I miss you all and I miss Lodi. I think of you often. I hope you are well and at peace with your world.

Peg Zaemisch alias Nanook of the North

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mark Kohl February 5, 2009 at 9:29 PM

Best wishes and hope to see you. I usually make a summer and fall excursion to Butternut Lake for Musky Fishing. If you haven’t done so, check out The Northern Pines Resort for good food and spirits.

Mark Kohl

2 Judy Brownrigg February 5, 2009 at 5:24 AM

Hi Peg,

I loved your article and hope each day will get better. You are missed more than I can say. How “lucky” they are to have you among their citizenery and I’m sure it will also get better as you settle in, meet people and get involved in activities that will interest you. Hopefully in the not too distant future you will retire back here and once again become an intregal part of our community.

With the coming of April will also be a change for me. I am not taking another term on the City Council and while I have mixed emotions about that decision, I am looking forward to finding new “stuff” to do. With the wretched economy, the Food Pantry is becoming more active every week as more and more jobs disappear and the plights of families become more desperate. I am just relieved that after a long lay-off, you have found something to continue sharing your enormous talents.

I love the new on-line paper the troops are getting off the ground and I’m doing my own part in promoting it. Once I get “rid” of all the city duties that take up so much of my time, I want to work with them to promote it.

Take care, keep that shovel handy and your health at its best.


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